Apple is said to be planning to bring built-in transit directions to its native Maps app in iOS 9. Transit directions were left out when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own offering as the default navigation app in iOS 6 back in 2012. The native transit directions offering is actually a feature that was held over from an intended release last year with iOS 8, according to 9to5Mac, which reported both that intended launch and this new iOS 9 inclusion.
Apple is said to have made a late-stage decision to take transit navigation out of iOS 8, according to the new report, and instead intends to launch it with this year’s update of its mobile OS. The directions would offer the ability to plan trips, getting estimated travel times for bus, train and subway transit methods. It would offer multiple trip options, as well as a special map view detailing local transit stops alongside its Standard, Hybrid and Satellite visualization options.
Besides transit, which is likely a welcome addition for many urban iOS device owners (especially now that the Apple Watch could potentially provide at-a-glance route checking) Apple is also said to be working on building out its indoor mapping capabilities. The ability to navigate major landmarks and buildings with granular indoor directions is a feature that Apple apparently wants to offer, though it like will come at a later date, rather than bundled with the iOS 9 update we’ll almost certainly see introduced at WWDC in June.
Apple has acquired HopStop and Embark, two companies that have built transit mapping and directions apps for iPhone in the past. Both those acquisitions came to light in 2013, but so far we’ve yet to see their impact in either public- or developer-facing features of iOS. Apple was also hiring transit-focused software engineers as recently as April, so while it’s certain the company wants to bring this to market, we’ll have to wait and see whether that happens in iOS 9, or whether it’s held off for another later release.